As 1999's melancholy suicide note "Adam's Song" revealed, the boys in Blink-182 have always been more than just pop-punk pranksters delighting in fart jokes, masturbation puns and Peter Pan syndrome. The Southern California trio stresses this often during Blink-182, a drastic departure from previous albums that elevates the band beyond its usual sixth-grade reading level.

"Feeling This" speaks of a bedroom romp, but its looping drums and layered harmonies hint at mature musicality. Even more experimental is "The Fallen Interlude," stacked with blippy piano and drum & bass stutters, as well as the excellent Cure doppelgänger "All of This," on which mopemonger Robert Smith adds lyrics and gloomy vocals.

Plenty of hard-driving mosh-pit fomenters will satisfy old-school fans, and Blink still sounds as if it needs a stint with the guidance counselor: The charging metal punk of "Go" hints at domestic violence, and "Obvious" spits vitriol on behalf of a betrayed heart ("I saw you again/I know you fucked him again"). Sure, their carefree juvenilia may have made them famous, but growing up has made Blink a better band.

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Annie Zaleski
Contact: Annie Zaleski

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